My courses that last California spring included Abnormal Psychology, Psychology Statistics, Genetics, and Forensic Science (no memory of what my long-term goal was). In my old papers, there is a letter from a teacher telling me that had I just taken his final, he wouldn't have had to give me an F and that he had enjoyed reading my last paper. I remember little of those classes, but somewhere in the month before the term ended I flung myself to the mat, packed us up, and allowed my dad to fly down from Oregon and drive us in our old white Chevy Impala, packed to the gills with our worldly goods and two cats, back to Oregon. By May, the kids were plunked into the Corvallis school system and we were lodging with my parents. By the time I turned 36, I had gotten a job as Secretary to the Department of Anthropology at Oregon State University. On the very day of my birthday, the last Apollo flight splashed down after exchanging gifts with the Soviet Cosmonauts somewhere out in space, but news of the world at large was lost on me.

As Butch said to Sundance who refused to jump from the cliff because he couldn't swim, "Why you crazy, the fall will probably kill you." I felt like I was always falling now and not gracefully. My parents had a decent ranch style three-bedroom home on a nice suburban street in this 99.9% white small college town and their lives were in order. They did politics and their garden and their friends and paid their bills, and we took up their space with our new lives. I felt a slight boost about a new job and new scenery, new clothes, new routine but kept on drinking in my back room, hiding my bottles under the bed and taking them out when empty to leave along a curb somewhere in the dark.

Next page